Former jockey Randy Romero, who continues to battle a serious kidney disorder, was recently informed he also suffers from the Hepatitis C virus, which causes chronic liver disease.
The 44-year-old Romero, who still visits the Churchill Downs backstretch at least three times a week, has known since last year that he needed a kidney transplant. When learned he was infected with Hepatitis C, the kidney transplant from his older brother, Edward, was ruled out. He now needs both a kidney and liver transplant.
The transplanted organs must be harvested from the same deceased donor because both organs must be from the same person to lessen the chances of rejection. Until an organ match is located, Romero continues kidney dialysis three times a week at a Louisville hospital, and is taking medication to lessen his liver problems.
"Some days are better than others, but I feel good right now," said the former rider of champions Personal Ensign and Go for Wand. "The doctors told me they have to kill the virus in my liver before doing the transplant. I don't know how long it will be before I could have my transplant."
With his medical bills continuing to mount, Romero's friends in the racing community have not forgotten about the man who rode nearly 4,300 winners. Jockey Shane Sellers hosted a benefit concert at Coyotes bar in Louisville, Ky. on May 2, and on April 21, a benefit dinner was held at Furlong's restaurant in Lexington, Ky.
"Furlongs was a blast," Romero said of the event that raised more than $100,000. "I never imagined I had so many friends. People have been so good to me. I just don't know how to thank everyone."